ACSL(American Computer Science League) Prep

Computer Science is a science of abstraction -creating the right model for a problem and devising the appropriate mechanizable techniques to solve it.

– A. Aho and J. Ullman

Context Schedule

There are four contests during the regular season. The window during which each contest can be accessed on HackerRank is as follows.

  • Contest #1: available Oct. 31, 2022; closes Sunday January 15, 2023 @ 11:59pm EST
  • Contest #2: available Dec. 26, 2022; closes Sunday March 5, 2023 @ 11:59pm EST
  • Contest #3: available Jan. 30, 2023; closes Sunday April 9, 2023 @ 11:59pm EDT
  • Contest #4: available March 6, 2023; closes Sunday May 14, 2023 @ 11:59pm EDT

Course Introduction

This course will prepare our elementary students (Grades 3-6) for the Elementary Division contest in the American Computer Science League. The goal is to teach algorithmic programming, problem solving using computers and prepare students for ACSL and programming competitions in general.

Each ACSL elementary contest for basic knowledge of CS theory. Topics include Number Systems, Boolean Algebra, and Graph. This course will also introduce concepts on strings, arrays, etc for preparing them for future coding programs.

Computer Science & Competition Intro

Session 1: Computer Number Systems- 10 Lessons

1.Binary number system

2.Octal and Hexadecimal Number

3.Converting binary digits for Octal and Hexadecimal number

4.Using Expanded Notation to Find Base 10 Values

5.Using Hexadecimal Numbers to Represent Colors

6.Adding and Subtracting in Other Bases

Past & Mock test:To prepare for the contest on Oct 31.

Session 2: Prefix/Infix/Postfix Notation- 10 Lessons

1.Mathematical Expressions

2.Translating from Infix to Prefix or Postfix

3.Evaluating a Prefix or Postfix Expression

4.Mid-term test for chapter 1 & 2

Past & Mock test:To prepare for the contest on Dec 26.

Session 3: Boolean Algebra- 10 Lessons


2.Using AND, OR, and NOT with Words or Operations

3.Truth Tables

4.Simplification and DeMorgan’s Law

5.Equivalent Expressions

Past & Mock test:To prepare for the contest on Jan 30.

Session 4: Graph Theory -10 Lessons

1.Defining a Graph

2.Different Kinds of Paths

3.Traversable Graphs

Past & Mock test:To prepare for the contest on March 6.

Meet USTAR Education Teachers

Mr. Victor Ma

Math / Coding / Physics

Mr. Victor Ma has taught physics in college for 7 years. He has a BS degree in physics and a MS degree in computer science. He has worked as a software engineer in high tech companies for 20+ years. Mr. Ma is passionate about helping students in learning and making their learning experience easy. In the past 5 years, he has been dedicated in teaching, and helped many students achieve good grades in Physics, Math, and coding.

Dr Lisa W

Computer Science / Coding

Dr Lisa W has a doctorate degree in computer science, and has been a software engineer in tech companies for more than 10 years now. She is passionate about all science and technology related topics. Her goal of designing the STEM curriculum is to make classes as interactive as possible so that students learn through interesting activities and creative imaginations that will serve them for a bright future in the long run. Her philosophy is that everyone has the potential to learn, and interest is the number one goal we nurture from the early stage.

Dr. Z

Science teacher / Coding teacher

Having been an engineer from academic training to professional practice, I have experiences in learning how to understand the physical world, how to discover its problems that need solutions and, eventually, how to solve the problems.
Through my 8-year college teaching, I had experienced and practiced how to pass knowledge to students of various skill backgrounds in effective ways.
Most importantly, the fact that my past experiences are mainly in engineering makes me feel most confident in teaching math, physics, chemistry and computer technologies, because I have been practicing with these subjects through my whole career.